Target(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 3)(25) by Connie Suttle
"Wildrif said for him to leave the country. Said that Howard would know what he meant and would pay."
"Is Wildrif still at the hospital?" Matt looked at his agent.
"He was ten minutes ago."
"Call. Have him transferred to the maximum-security facility in Colorado. Do it now. Nobody talks to this guy, nobody listens to this guy. Got it? Move."
Ashe hadn't gone far. He'd stopped a quarter mile from the beach house and stood on the sand while waves sloshed around his feet. Briefly, he wondered what would happen if he hopped to the horizon, using his newly discovered talent. He wasn't planning to tell anyone about it, yet. It would just be another reason to keep him under surveillance. Trace had stepped out to the deck after Ashe left the others behind. No doubt to keep an eye on Ashe and make sure he didn't get away. Sharp hearing was always a plus—it let Ashe know many things. He'd heard Trace close the patio door behind him; even heard the creak of the chair when Trace settled into it. Shaking himself a little, Ashe turned to go back.
"I think I'll ask Dawn to come for a visit," Denise said, looking over the postcard while she drank coffee at Adele's kitchen island. "There's plenty of room at the house. She might enjoy being close to the gulf for a change."
"That's a great idea." Adele smiled. "Do you have her number?"
"I do." Denise pulled out her cell and flipped through the phone list.
"I know I gave you bogus news before, but I just found out that Dawn Smith is coming for a visit and Randy has vacation time, so he's coming too." Sali called Ashe again while Ashe sat in front of the computer inside his office, working on a few small assignments for Winkler.
"Sali, aren't you supposed to be working?" Ashe asked.
"Break time, dude."
"When are they coming?" Ashe asked, plugging in a password and revealing all sorts of sensitive information on a Savings and Loan.
"Coming in on Saturday. Leaving after the full moon. Mom talked Randy's mom into running with us."
"That's nice, dude. Gotta go. I think I just uncovered graft and corruption." Ashe hung up on Sali, ran out the door and was knocking on Winkler's office door in seconds.
"What is it?" Winkler was getting off the phone as well.
"Mr. Winkler, I think you ought to see this." Winkler rose and followed Ashe down the hall.
"See—this bonus was paid in December. And then a duplicate amount was issued in January, another in February, and once each month since then," Ashe pointed out. "It wouldn't have made me suspicious, except for the amounts."
"Yeah. I can see that a million dollar bonus in less than a year might be a little out of a vice president's league," Winkler agreed, leaning over Ashe's shoulder to examine the figures on the screen. "This is a small S and L. I wonder how this was hidden?"
"I don't know," Ashe shrugged. Winkler whipped out his cell and placed a call. Ashe listened in while someone at the FBI was given information. It wasn't a low ranking somebody, either. Winkler had more contacts than anybody knew, Ashe figured. He wondered how large Winkler Security actually was and if Winkler held government contracts. That's likely a big whopping yes, Ashe thought to himself. Yet another thing he didn't plan to tell anyone.
"We'll find out soon enough," Winkler clapped Ashe on the back. "Come on, kid. Come have a glass of juice or something." Ashe ended up having a snack in the kitchen. Jimmy, the cook, made a sandwich for Winkler and handed Ashe a small bowl of pretzels after Ashe said he didn't want a sandwich. Jimmy didn't talk much at all. Ashe knew the cook was werewolf. Jimmy was short—barely five-four or so. He was also the only werewolf Ashe had ever seen who shaved his head.
"Thanks, Jimmy," Ashe crunched into a pretzel.
"No prob, kiddo." Jimmy grinned at Ashe. Ashe couldn't help but grin back.
"I was asked to give this to you," Tony Hancock walked into the media room shortly after sundown, handing a manila envelope to Ashe, who stared at the vampire.
"What is it?" Ashe had avoided speaking with the former Director of the Joint NSA and Homeland Security Department.
"I had to pull a few strings to get this, and the Head of the Council has already seen it, as have I. That's what you get. All you get." Tony's face was shuttered, showing no emotion.
"You have a habit of avoiding direct questions?" Ashe said before he thought. Winkler, who'd just walked in, burst out laughing.
"Nailed you, Hancock," Winkler chuckled.
"I'll uh, just go to my room and look at this," Ashe stood, tapping the envelope against his chest.
Ashe's bedroom held a desk and chair. Settling into the chair and turning on the floor lamp beside it, Ashe opened the envelope. Three loose pages were inside. He pulled them out carefully. The pages appeared to be a computer generated copy of a handwritten manuscript. The top page made Ashe draw in a breath.
The contents herein, being an excerpt of Ekdi H'Morr, the Book of Prophecy belonging to the Elemaiyan Race, as translated by, and that part had been redacted. There was nothing there except blank space.
"So, I don't need to know," Ashe muttered, feeling a bit of anger. Were they afraid he'd attempt to find the translator? He flipped the cover page, anxious to learn more.
The Elemaiya, Bright and Dark, are a varied and talented race, Ashe read. Formed at one and the same moment, they are halves of a whole. Once they were a single race, although they have forgotten this, was handwritten on the page. Their talents are many, although any one of them who holds more than two talents is considered uncommon, and the few holding four or more are among the royalty of the race. The talents are thus, from most common to extremely rare:
Gating—this ability belongs to all Elemaiya and is not included in the number of talents assigned to any individual. Gating is essential as an ability, as it enables the Elemaiya to travel from one world to another. Some worlds have multiple gates; a few have none at all. This talent, and the ability to sense when a gate is near, appears to be instinctive.
Telekinesis—this talent presents in varying degrees of ability. Many are able to move a feather about. Few may lift something heavier than that. The rarest and most talented might lift extremely heavy objects.
Illusion—the ability to make objects or people appear to be present and solid. Some of the higher talents will see through any illusion but it is still useful at times, making an enemy believe there are more foes present. If done properly, an enemy will see the specter as real and attack. A few very talented in this ability will make their illusions appear to move naturally. A fine talent, often present in the military faction.
Relocation—this enables the individual to move from one place to another almost instantly. It is generally short range, however, and more than two relocations in a single day tend to tire the individual, so it is reserved until needed. A few can relocate more often, but that is uncommon.
Acute Hearing—this is useful in the guards protecting royalty, as it allows them to detect approaching danger.
Mindspeech—the individuals holding this talent are separated from those considered common among the race. While nearly all have Telekinesis or Relocation skills, roughly half have mindspeech. There are castes within the races, and mindspeech demarcates Low from High Caste. Mindspeakers, holding none of the higher abilities, belong to the Middle Caste. Holding mindspeech and any of the remaining, rarer talents marks the individual as High Caste.
Compulsion—a useful and uncommon gift, enabling the one talented in this way to compel others to do their bidding. If one holds this ability, it must be used sparingly against his fellows; else it will bring about animosity.
Manipulation of the elements—fire, water, air and earth, or solid matter. Of course, these are the elements as determined by ancient beliefs and not based in current scientific fact. It is believed that a very talented individual might burn oxygen from the air, or form water using the same method. Perhaps to create air from water as well, or manipulate solid objects. Manipulation of solid objects is the rarest of this particular ability. One with that talent has not come in a very long time, and none is now known to exist.
Shapeshifting—a rare gift, endowing those holding such talent with the ability to take the form of an animal. They cannot be distinguished from the actual animal, by either sight or scent. Humanoid Shapeshifters still hold a bit of their other scent. Shapeshifting Elemaiya do not.
Misting—this gift is among the rarest of talents. None can perceive the Elemaiya in this form, except in the most unusual of all cases. The holder of this gift can slip through the smallest of spaces. Legends surround this ability, but those will be discussed at a later time.
Foresight/Prophecy—this talent is the rarest of all and individuals blessed with it are highly prized by the ruling houses of both Bright and Dark.
"Where's the rest?" Ashe looked at both sides of the last page. There was nothing more. They're withholding it, he thought. He then read the list again before counting. He held five of the talents. At least five. It made him think about the gates on Earth, too, and he wondered where they were located. If he could discuss this with Sali, an entire universe of possibilities might open up. He could ask Tony Hancock, though. Maybe he'd know, since he was an eighth Elemaiya. Ashe raced out of his bedroom and into the strangest sight he'd ever seen.
The beach house was different. The furniture different. Things in different places. The air almost seemed tangible as it flowed around him. He saw Winkler, looking much as he still did, only dressed in an older style. Ashe stared at the woman from the photograph that hung in Winkler's Dallas office. She'd come to life and now stood beside the table in the breakfast nook. She was arguing with Winkler about something, and then lifting a metal-framed dining chair, twisting it easily in her hands before tossing it on the floor and stalking away.
"Holy cow," Ashe said, his words breaking the spell. Winkler now stood before Ashe, calling his name.
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